The University of Akron men’s soccer team saw its 2011 season come to an end Sunday night in Charlotte.
UA held an edge in shots and corner kicks, but Charlotte had the advantage on the scoreboard and earned a 1-0 victory in an NCAA Tournament third-round match on Transamerica Field before a crowd of 2,812.
The loss prevents UA from defending the national title it won in 2010.
“We’re obviously very disappointed,” University of Akron coach Caleb Porter said by telephone. “We are not satisfied to make it to the round of 16. Our expectation is to win the national championship.”
Porter said he found perspective in the fact that the team lost seven of last year’s 11 starters to Major League Soccer, and that only three starters Sunday were seniors.
“There is a lot of hope for the future,” Porter said. “I am proud of the progress we have made. Our goal was to be in a position to make a run for the national championship and we did that. We were one goal away from the round of eight.
“[Our players] have a lot to be proud of, but at Akron, we always want to win a national championship.”
Charlotte (16-4-2) advances to play at Connecticut in the quarterfinals.
Freshman forward Giuseppe Gentile scored the match’s only goal in the 25th minute. Junior Jennings Rex got the assist.
UA (15-4-4) appeared to draw even at 1-1 about five minutes later when senior defender Matt Dagilis headed in a goal following a corner kick, but the score was waved off because of a foul.
“I was surprised,” Porter said of the call. “I jumped up and started to celebrate. I didn’t see what happened. Matt must have pushed the guy.
“I am sure the call was warranted. I thought the referees did a good job.”
The Zips outshot the 49ers 11-6 and had a 7-4 advantage in corner kicks. The 49ers had four shots on goal to the Zips’ two. The match featured 26 fouls by the two teams, and several hard challenges for the ball by Charlotte, which upped its home record to 9-0-0.
“We had more shots, but at the end of the day, you have to score,” Porter said. “They scored and we didn’t. Credit to them. I thought they defended well and we didn’t find a goal.”
Sophomore forward Darren Mattocks had both of the Zips’ shots on goal, which were saved by 49ers sophomore goalkeeper Klay Davis.
UA junior goalkeeper David Meves had three saves.